Reading and thinking and letting go

I wrote a post a long time ago about wandering away from reading books on metaphysics some years before.  As I’ve been slowly reading through Sharon Salzberg’s wonderful new book,  Real Love:  The Art of Mindful Connection, savoring every word, I’ve been thinking about that old post and the stepping away.

I guess the first thing that occurred to me is this is the fourth time in less than a year that I’m posting about a book on metaphysics–two being about two of Elizabeth Lesser’s books, one about a Louise Hay tome–and this is the first time in many years I’ve read more than one such book in the space of three or four years.

In my early days “on the path” I read voraciously and the majority of my discretionary income was spent at Isis Rising, the metaphysical bookstore across the street from my apartment at the time.  From the mid-1980’s to the end of the 90’s I kept it up.  And then, I wandered away from reading much on the topic at all.

It was never really a decision to stop, but I realized at some point I already owned books with everything I needed to know.  More important, I realized one day I’d need to start living these principles and ideas if I wanted them to be effective and turned more toward practice than reading about practice.  I’ve found practices like meditation, Flying Crane Chi Gung and the Eight Key Breaths do more to move me forward and keep my energy flowing and expanding than anything about reading about or “deciding” to do something ever did.

When I took up yoga nidra 10 or 12 years ago I purposefully did the practice without doing any research or reading.  I let daily practice show me the effects of yoga nidra without needing to know the academic breakdown of how it works and what it does.  For someone who lived her first 40+ years from a place of mind and intellect, this represented a big shift.

Recently I’ve had a couple of sporadic conversations going on with friends over whether you can think or will your way to mindfulness and/or higher consciousness.  After years of moving away from study and toward practice I am pretty well convinced you can’t just approach either from only a mental space.

Mulling all of this I realized that when I let go of the need to study I unconsciously also let go of control.  Now, does my mind still try to control a lot of stuff about this process?  Yup.  Probably always will.  But in moving toward the experience of doing rather than reading about, I stepped out of a mind space and into a space of letting the energy of practices and my intuition about practices lead me to healthier places and expanding consciousness.

With hindsight I can say that all that reading and willing and plotting and planning how to be more mindful or more spiritual was my mind/ego’s way of keeping some kind of control.  And to some degree it was also useful.  But the process of connecting with divinity or picking up on the flow of divine consciousness is, for me, one of letting go of control and surrendering to a higher wisdom.

Reading now connects to intuition for me.  I have more to say about intuition in the next post (or soon 🙂 ), but it plays an increasing role for me.  When it comes to books these days, I generally never look for books on spiritual topics.  But because of my spiritual interests I often look at blogs or web sites with info about new books and, if I feel a draw toward one, I check to see if the library has it or if there’s an inexpensive Kindle version.

These four books drew me and in each case I felt profound gratitude for being guided to them and for following my “hit” that I needed to read them.  Each has been the perfect gem for the moment.  Sometimes reading a new book — especially by someone I’ve not read before (or not much) — brings me a fresh insight into an idea that didn’t resonate as much for me the first time I encountered it.  Anybody’s guess whether it’s the different words or a different me creating the new take 🙂

Reading and thinking and using the mind can be pivotal at certain moments on the path, so I’m not saying to try to avoid ever “being mental”.  I’m just saying, practice too.  I know, me and practice…  always harping…

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